Posts Tagged ‘portable’

Great-Sounding Portable Music

There are tons of Bluetooth speakers available this year and I’ve reviewed a lot of them. My pick for this year, however, is the JBL Flip 2. This speaker has it all:

  • Great s
    jbl flip2
    jbl flip2
    ound with evenly balanced treble and base
  • Excellent durable build quality
  • Easy set up
  • Echo and noise cancellation
  • NFC for simple wireless pairing
  • 12W total system power
  • Two 40mm drivers with built-in bass port
  • Auxiliary input for play from wired devices
  • Carry case

At the current selling price of $89, it is not the cheapest speaker on the market, but it is well-worth the price.

Sansa Fuze+ Portable Music Player

Sansa Fuze+
Sansa Fuze+

Sansa Fuze+

If you have wanted to buy a portable music player, but were put off by the price, the Sansa Fuze+ may be your answer. The prices for the Fuze+ start at just $89. The Fuze+ is the newest version of the SanDisk Fuze line of players. It has some great features — especially the ability to play a variety of different formats. This allows you to drag your music right out of iTunes into the player. In fact, this is the most full-functioned MP3 player that I have ever reviewed. It can even play FM radio and record your voice and/or a radio show. It comes in great colors. The only drawback is an erratic touchpad that doesn’t always give you the proper response to your touch. If you can live with that, it’s a winner!

The Bottom Line:

The Fuze+ wins the prize for the music player with the most functionality at an affordable price. It includes an FM radio with the ability to record radio, a voice recorder, a photo viewer, good video playback, a MicroSD card slot for expansion, the ability to play slotRadio cards, good battery life, and the ability to play a wide range of formats (including MP3,FLAC, AAC, and OGG to name just a few).

All of this functionality comes at an excellent price. As we write this, an 8GB iPod Nano is selling for $149 while the 8GB Fuze+ costs only $89. The Fuze+ has similar audio quality to the iPod, but it also has a larger screen, video playback, more audio settings, removable storage capabilities, an FM radio, and voice recording. It even displays photos with better accuracy than the Nano.

While the interface is excellent, the biggest drawback of the Fuze+ is the erratic touch panel. It simply doesn’t respond consistently. After a few weeks of use, we got somewhat used to it, but still were sometimes annoyed while using it.

The ability to use slotRadio card should not be overlooked. You can purchase a slotRadio card that contains 1,000 songs for $40. It is an excellent way to get music into the player without ever having to use the computer or spend time downloading songs.

The Fuze+ delivers solid quality and great functionality at a very affordable price. If you can live with its erratic touchpad, it is a bargain. If SanDisk can make the touchpad more consistently responsive, it will have a real iPod killer in this product.
The Good

  • Solid build
  • Reasonable price
  • Excellent format support, including ACC
  • Expandable memory card
  • Lightweight
  • Plays slotRadio cards
  • FM radio
  • Voice and radio recording
  • Variety of colors and capacities
  • Good video playback

The Bad

  • Erratic touchpad
  • Small screen
  • No sync software included

You can read my more detailed review with pictures at HardwareSecrets.com.

The 8GB Sansa Fuze+ is currently on sale at Best Buy online for $79.99. Click the “BUY” link below to purchase.

SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ 8GB MP3 Player – Purple

Take your music, videos and photos with you when you’re on the go with this MP3 player that features a 2.4″ bright QVGA screen for an easy-to-see display and simple navigation. The rechargeable battery offers up to 24 hours of music playback.


Abbee Commercial-Free Music System Review

The Abbee with Portable Player
The Abbee with Portable Player
Record FM radio, cut out the commercials and DJ chatter, eliminate the songs you don’t like, and you are left with free music that you can enjoy. Add to that an included portable music player that you can use to listen to your music when you are on the go and you have quite a unique and useful device. It’s called “Abbee” and it is a squarish device that plays and records FM radio.

Abbee is like an FM radio in that you can listen to any station. It even has presets like most FM radios. In addition to her radio capabilities, however, Abbee also records music and cuts out the talking. Abbee delivers on her promise to cut out the commercials and the DJchatter . It works beautifully with only an occasional glitch when the DJ or commercial is set to music.

Abbee does everything automatically. It records and transfers music to the included music player without the user having to do anything. That is Abbee’s strong point, but it is also her weak point. You don’t have to do anything to get Abbee to perform admirably, but sometimes it is tough to figure out just what she is doing.

In any case, you simply hit a button to tell Abbee or the Music Lock portable player what songs you like and you want to keep. If you press and hold the same button, it tells Abbee that you don’t like a song and Abbee will immediately eliminate that song. You will wind up with your portable player filled with free music of your choosing.

If you want, you can also record talk radio, but that, unfortunately,  is limited to 30 minutes.

The Bottom Line

The price on the Abbee was recently reduced to $99 so don’t pay more.  At $99, Abbee is great for anyone who gets good reception on their favorite FM stations and doesn’t want to play around with transferring music to and from the computer. In fact, you don’t even need a computer to use the Abbee. There is no way to play selected songs, but it gives you free music of your liking without any muss or fuss.

The Good

  • Affordable
  • Provides no-cost music
  • No subscription fees
  • Does a very good job of removing DJ chatter and commercials
  • Built-in FM radio
  • Good speakers
  • Good portable player
  • Everything done automatically
  • No computer needed

The Bad

  • The confusing way music is recorded, deleted & saved
  • Music deleted from the Abbee when transferred to Music Lock
  • 30 minute maximum with on-demand recording
  • Once you have marked Favorites on the Abbee, you must plug in the Music Lock to save them or they may be overwritten
  • The requirement to plug in the Music Lock to save “Favorites” marked on the Abbee
  • No way to see the amount of music recorded
  • No way to select songs to play

Verizon MiFi 2200 Review

MiFi 2200
MiFi 2200

MiFi 2200

You may have heard about getting your computer on the Internet with cellular service.  Yes, you can get a cellular card from your mobile phone company and use it in your computer to get on the Internet.  Another way to do it is with a special wireless router that you get from your mobile phone company.

I looked at the Mi Fi 2200 from Verizon. It is called an Intelligent Mobile solution and it is a really fresh way to get on the Internet. The MiFi 2200 is tauted as the world’s smallest wireless router. It is not only small, but it doesn’t look at all like a router. In fact, it looks like a shiny black credit card that is about ½” thick.

The MiFi accesses the Verizon cellular network to get you on the Internet, so you can get online wherever there is Verizon service, which is pretty much across America.

You can use the MiFi just like a modem that provides an Internet connection. Just plug it into a computer with the USB cable, configure the software and you are online. You can also use it as a wifi router, which can let up to 5 computers or other devices within about 30’ hook up to the Internet. It is really cool. Keep the MiFi in your shirt pocket and you are a walking WiFi center.

You get about the same speed as a DSL modem, so the Internet service is good. The MiFi is feature laden. It supports Wi-Fi encryption, port forwarding, port filtering, and other common router options.

In my testing, the MiFi worked seamlessly and gave me Internet access in areas where it would not have been otherwise available. It comes with a wall charger and lasts about 4 hours on a single charge. It can also plug into the USB port on a computer to be recharged.

The MiFi is a great option for anyone who lives or travels to areas where they cannot get good Internet connectivity through other methods.

There are however, two caveats. First, I found the Verizon, VZ Access Manager that helps you manage the MiFi really terrible. If you are used to working with networks, modems, and routers, you will be able to figure it out. If not, you will be at the Verizon store asking for help.  To their credit, Verizon has a video tutorial on their website that will also help get your through the software.  The good news is that once you figure out the software, you can manage the MiFi quite easily.

The second caveat is the price. The cost of the unit itself is not bad. It is $269.99 with a month-to-month Verizon data plan. It gets as cheap as $49.99 with a two-year contract. The service, however, is pricey. You will pay $39.99 for 250 MB of usage. This is good for only very, very  light use. The 5GB plan costs $59.99 a month. The problem is that heavy use can easily bring your usage over that. The Verizon software lets you monitor your usage quite easily, but I would like to see an unlimited plan so you wouldn’t have to worry about how close you are to your limit.

The good:

  • Very small and pocketable
  • Good design
  • Instant Internet almost everywhere
  • Good service and connectivity
  • Can be use for up to five connections
  • The device is inexpensive
  • Month-to-month data plan is available

The bad:

  • Expensive and limited data plans
  • Poor software

The bottom line:

If you don’t mind the costs and you can stay within the data plan limits, this is an excellent product that can get you on the Internet almost anywhere. The Verizon service is very good, but they need to revamp the software to make it easier to use.

Good iPod Alternative

Sansa Fuze
Sansa Fuze

Sansa Fuze

Although the iPod is the most popular portable digital music player, there are cheaper alternatives that also give you added features. The Sansa Fuze is one such player. In size, it is similar to the iPod nano.

The Fuze, however, does a few things that the iPod cannot do. It has a great FM radio, a voice recorder, and excellent battery life. The Fuze also supports a wider range of music formats than any other player I’ve looked at. You can increase your storage with a MicroSD card and the music on the card is fully integrated with the music on the player.

I got to review the cool-looking red one! Check out my full review at Hardware Secrets.


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